books: Hollywood Bohemians
Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream
Picture Garbo and Dietrich in men’s tailored suits, female impersonators drawing the stars to their nightclubs, and designers bringing a gay aesthetic to dresses–decades before Project Runway.
Wild, and outlandish, these bohemians’ “illegal” sexual activities and interests added titillation to the Hollywood Dream. The bohemians made celebrity and sex life synonymous by flaunting their controversial behavior and pushing the media envelope. The Hollywood bohemians of the ’20s & ’30s were the forerunners of today’s highly sexualized celebrity culture.
Sounds like a good time to me, no? History was my absolute worst subject in school. If it couldn’t be conveyed by Warner Bros. cartoons, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek or Bewitched time-travel episodes, I really wasn’t interested. Whenever I landed on Yellow while playing Trivial Pursuit, if I wasn’t on a team, I was screwed. It goes without saying that none of that media I watched as a kid ever covered this kind of perspective on Hollywood in the ’20s & ’30s.
I’d heard of the author more from his writing about D.C.’s new stadium, I hadn’t a clue that Brett wrote about this aspect of Hollywood until checking out his blog a while ago. I haven’t actually read a copy of Hollywood Bohemians [McFarland | Amazon] yet–*cough-autographed copy-cough* Who said that?! 😈 –but reviews are very favorable. From reading entries on Brett’s blog, he clearly knows his stuff and continues to make interesting observations about Hollywood culture from then and now. Since most of today’s modern celebrity culture turns me off, I’m betting this journey into history would make for a fascinating read.